Volvo truck dealers in France, Italy and the UK will begin selling Mitsubishi light-duty trucks on 1 January.
The arrangement is part of a broad agreement to cooperate in the truck market. An engineering study could lead to a common platform and joint assembly of new medium-duty trucks for the two companies.
Volvo and Mitsubishi cooperate already in manufacturing cars in the Netherlands.
The light truck involved is Mitsubishi's Canter, with a GVW between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes. Volvo has no truck of that size. The Canter will be sold as a Mitsubishi.
The Canter is manufactured in the Mitsubishi Truck Europe plant in Tramagal, Portugal. Mitsubishi will increase annual output to 15,000 after 2000. Mitsubishi has already invested DM110 million ($62 million). The Canter has 60 percent European content.
Volvo truck spokesman Stefan Lorentzson said Volvo expects to sell 5,000-6,000 Canters annually in the UK, France and Italy. Mitsubishi sells the Canter in other European countries, mainly through its car dealers.
'Volvo and Mitsubishi will consider similar distribution in other European markets, including those where the Canter truck is already sold via Mitsubishi dealers,' said Lorentzson.
The companies will also start a feasibility study for a joint medium class (7.5-18.0 tonnes GVW) truck.
'The study is restricted to engineering issues at first,' said Pat Flanagan, spokesman for Mitsubishi Truck Europe. However, both companies believe it could lead to a joint platform concept.
'The outcome will be two trucks with distinctive brand identity, including individual cab design,' said Lorentzson.
Mitsubishi sold 28,000 medium class trucks last year, mainly in Asia/Pacific. Volvo sold 5,200 last year in Europe.
The feasibility study also includes possible joint production such as at NedCar. A new truck would not be launched until after 2000.